We’re almost a month into the season, so it didn’t take too long for Carmelo Anthony to re-enter our lives, for better or for worse. Things couldn’t be going much worse for the Portland Trail Blazers early on, so they’ve opted to sign the veteran forward on a non-guaranteed deal.
Melo isn’t expected to debut before Tuesday’s game vs. the game vs. the Pelicans, so he could debut Thursday vs. the Bucks or Saturday at Cleveland. Either way, season-long managers are scooping Anthony up off the waiver wire in anticipation that he could be a fantasy basketball asset, which seems like a stretch.
Carmelo’s ownership percentage in ESPN season-long leagues has risen to 14.7% since the news broke. It’s not out of the question for Melo to immediately start for Portland, either. The Blazers have very little depth at forward with rookie Nasir Little starting, and unprovesn Skal Labissiere and Mario Hezonja coming off the bench.
With Pau Gasol and Zach Collins out, Portland has had to play small ball and Melo is an OK small-ball PF who can score in bursts, but offers little on defense. Luckily that’s not what we care about, so Melo is worth scooping up in deeper leagues to see if he has anything left in the tank.
Let’s look at a few other intriguing waiver wire options for this week:
Aron Baynes, C, Phoenix Suns (59.5% Ownership on ESPN)
Chances are Baynes is owned in your league if it’s 12+ teams, but he’s still a shade under 60% owned on ESPN, which seems low considering how well he’s played for the Suns this season. Baynes has been a stabilizing factor down low for Phoenix, which has been without Deandre Ayton (suspension). Baynes is averaging 25 minutes, 15.8 points and 4.8 rebounds per game in November. He’s also shooting 57.4% from the field and 50% from three this month. He’s been competing with Frank Kaminsky for playing time, and Baynes’ minutes usually depends on the matchup. But more times than not, the Suns will need Baynes’ defense and big body down low, so he’ll get his. Phoenix is actually good and Baynes is the only true center right now. Take advantage.
Marcus Smart, PG/SG, Boston Celtics (26.4%)
Ahhh yes, everybody’s favorite player to hate. Marcus Smart has stepped up big in place of Gordon Hayward (fractured hand) in the starting lineup for the Celtics. He’s played at least 35 minutes in each of the past three games in place of Hayward, and enters Sunday vs. the Kings with at least 15 points in four straight. Smart is on pace to smash his career-high shooting percentage of 36.4 from last season; he’s shooting 40.8 from distance in 2019-20.
Hayward should still be out a month, and potentially even longer, so as long as that holds, Smart should be owned in deeper season-long formats. Boston is playing such a strong game, Smart is getting high-quality attempts from downtown and is cashing in. There’s no reason to believe that won’t continue. Even so, Smart is an all-around contributor in fantasy. He’ll get a handful of boards, assists and steals, covering plenty of categories.
Alec Burks, SG, Golden State Warriors (10%)
Stephen Curry: out. Klay Thompson: out. D’Angelo Russell: out. The Warriors have lost guards this season like I lose sunglasses on the weekend. The Dubs are down to Burks, Damion Lee, Jordan Poole and Ky Bowman in the backcourt. KY BOWMAN! So yes, Burks is the best player among this bunch and should see relatively big minutes, most likely starting in place of Russell, who is out for at least two weeks.
Burks doesn’t offer much in peripheral stats, but he can fill it up. He’s averaging 14.2 points per game off the bench this season and is in the top 50 in three-point shooting percentage at 41.2%. We know he’s going to start games (hopefully) and that should boost his scoring totals. Steve Kerr is still a great coach and should still be able to put up points. Plus, Golden State’s schedule this week is solid: at MEM, at DAL, at UTA, plus the week after the Dubs get home games vs. the Thunder and Bulls.
Dillon Brooks, SG/SF, Memphis Grizzlies (9.2%)
The Grizzlies are starting to figure things out and are at least fun to watch, mostly thanks to Ja Morant, but Brooks shouldn’t be overlooked. His stroke is so silky smooth and Morant has been able to find him for open shots. Even if he isn’t open, Brooks has Steph Curry range due to his quick release. The Grizz have won three straight and Brooks has scored at least 15 points in each win. His minutes have been inconsistent, but should level out if his play continues to improve. Brooks may be streaky, but his ceiling is high and he’ll chip in three-pointers if you need help there.
Langston Galloway, SG, Detroit Pistons (2.6%)
I love scrapping the bottom of the barrel and Langston Galloway is barely owned on ESPN. But he’s actually been really productive coming off the bench for Dwane Casey and could be tasked with starting at SG for Tony Snell, who is dealing with a hip injury. Galloway’s averages this month are eye-opening.
The journeyman guard is posting 15.8 points on 50% shooting from the field and 47.9% from three-point range in November. He’s scored in double figures in each game and topped out at 32 points on Friday vs. the Hornets. The trend here has been scorers in this article and that’s the way we’re going to wrap things up because Stone Cold said so.